Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Rainy day in Washington (Vinny down and out)
Posted Apr 3, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Apr 3, 2008 at 10:33 PM
Sorry for the late post on a gameday, but I took advantage of some free time in D.C. today and took a subway ride after lunch down to the Mall area. After seeing that the American History Museum is still undergoing renovations (it’s been closed since September 2006), which is a major bummer because it’s my favorite Smithsonian museum here, I wandered over to the Air and Space Museum, mainly because they had some items on display from the American History Museum until it opens up later this summer (I hope!!!). After spending about an hour in there, I went over to the National Archives, I find it very inspiring to check out the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. Being involved in Watching John Adams on HBO right now, it seemed like a logical stop today. But when I got there, a line was formed out the door, and then they cut it off because so many people were in the rotunda room and I happened to be the cut off point. So being that close, I decided to wait it out the 30 minutes before they reopened the lines (it started to rain at this point, fortunately I was under the entranceway). I kept checking my watch to see if I still had time to get in and still get to the game on time. When I was finally let in to the building, the line to see the Constitution and such was about another 30-45 minuted long. So I just took a peek inside the room to get a view of the mural on the wall which features the members of the first Continental Congress. It wasn’t the inspiration I was looking for, but it had to do for today as time was running short. I was able to walk around a little to some of the other exhibits before heading to the gift shop. I had to do my part to fund the museum, so the kids will be getting a gift when I get back home (of course, I had to buiy something for myself, too. . . hey, just trying to help fund the musuem to keep it up and running)
I’m happy to report I made my way back through the rain to my hotel, changed my shirt and put on my tie (Mickey Mouse, what else) and endured a subway delay in order to get to the rink in time.
And I’m glad I did as Karri Ramo is absolutely putting on a show in this game. The kid has been unbelievable stopping every shot the Caps have thrown his way. The only one of the 20 shots to get by him actually deflected off his own stick then the back of Filip Kuba’s skate and then in the net off the skate of Alex Picard. Bad luck, but the game is tied, but only because of Ramo who has 19 saves already on 20 shots. Guess he took that comments from Tortorella about starting next year in the AHL to heart. the kid is pretty good.
The 20 shots allowed, by the way, is a season high for Tampa Bay.
Quick observation - Damn, Matt Cooke hits hard!!!
A little more in control that period, or at least under control anyway. Ramo is still playing terrific, even though he only faced 9shots in that period, a far cry from the first period when he was under siege to keep Tampa Bay in the game. Ramo came up with a terrific save on Alex Ovechkin after a bad giveaway in the Lightning zone. Ovechkin, by the way, was credited with the first Washington goal (their only goal to this point) to set a new single-season record for most goals by a left wing with 64. Replays showed that the puck, which looked like it hit the skate of Filip Kuba, was actually swiped by Ovechkin before it bounced off the skate of Alex Picard.
Cristobal Huet made a dandy save of his own in that period, stopping Craig MacDonald all alone in front after a turnover behind the Washington net. Will be interesting to see what happens in the third period here with Washington needing the two points to stay in playoff contention. If the Caps come out in the third like they did in the second, they will win this game going away. But with the way Ramo is playing, he just might spoil Washington’s party.
One thing of note here, at the end of the period, Lightning coach John Tortorella put Jeff Halpern on left wing with Vinny and Marty. Guess he thinks that if Halpern has been the spark on the second line no matter who else has been playing with Halpern, then maybe he can spark Marty and Vinny. Uh, whatever. . . . Jussi Jokinen is now playing with Mathieu Darche and Michel Ouellet.
One other observation - Damn, Alex Ovechkin hits hard, too. (He also got hit hard on the knee when he blocked a shot, keep an eye on that)
UPDATE 9:00 P.M.
Vinny Lecavalier just left the game and he looks to be done for the season (I know, only one game left) after he got hit by Matt Cooke. Lecavalier went down and didn’t get up for several moments, laying the same position and kind of writhing there a bit. When he finally did get up, he had to be helped to his feet by Brad Lukowich and Mathieu Darche. Lecavalier appeared to be holding his right arm. I don’t want to speculate on what the injury is, but I’ll pass along when I know.
Team is diagnosing Vinny’s injury only as a right shoulder injury, but he walked out of the arena with the shoulder in a sling. He has already been ruled out of Saturday’s season finale in Atlanta. Good thing this happened now and not in December.
But the team did feel that Cooke took a cheap shot and should have been an interference call on Cooke. Here’s a quote from John Tortorella after the game:
“It’s an absolute cheap shot,’’ Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “We have stick foul after stick foul, and then I see that, it’s a guy in a vulnerable position. The puck isn’t anywhere near him and that isn’t called. It’s an absolute cheap shot.’’